Meet Adrian Oh, the Singaporean Who’s Skateboarding His Way Across 5 Continents

Meet Adrian Oh, the Singaporean Who’s Skateboarding His Way Across 5 Continents

From leisure to passion: here’s how this Singaporean man turned skating into his means of travelling around the world in two years.

adrian oh skatepacking

Novelist Nick Burd once wrote, “The world is vast and meant for wandering.” In Adrian Oh’s case, wandering takes on a whole new level of understanding.

On board his trusty longboard, this Singaporean daredevil is on an epic 30,000km journey around the world. Since 11 Feb 2017, he has traversed over 6,500km across Asia and parts of Europe, including the Netherlands and Germany. He intends to continue across the European continent and all the way to Argentina, the southernmost tip of the South American continent.

The best part? He’s skating through it.

So what compelled him to leave his teaching job and embark on this two-year journey? We are privileged to have found an opportunity to chat with Adrian while he’s on the world tour, and here’s what he’s shared about his incredible campaign thus far.

“Skatepacking” is what he calls it.

adrian oh skatepacking

Day 155: From Thourotte to Chantilly

Adrian has always felt that something was missing from his travels. It wasn’t luxury or spontaneity – the down-to-earth man had a penchant for backpacking. Yet, trip after trip, he couldn’t fathom out the missing puzzle.

It finally struck him when he stumbled upon online videos of individuals travelling on skateboards. Freedom was what he had sorely lacked! The absolute freedom to go anywhere he wanted, to reach any part of the world he desired.The answer was now clear: backpack around the world on a skateboard.

“Skatepacking, which is what I call my [style of] travelling, allows me to travel every inch of a country. I can access towns, villages which no one ever goes to and where no backpackers visit.” Summoning the courage to leave his job as a special-needs teacher, Adrian began his world conquest.

He’s bunked in all sorts of fascinating places.

To save cost, Adrian always tries to find free sleeping places. “In Thailand and Cambodia, I can find monasteries to camp in. I simply gesture a sleeping sign and the monks will usually point me to a spot where I can pitch my hammock. I have basic shelter and shower facility, and the only challenge I’ve faced is dogs barking at me all night,” Adrian laughs.

Day 149: From Wortel Kolonie to Leuven

Adrian also sought refuge in the wilderness often. Apart from beaches and forests, he’s even slept atop a mountain pass in a bunker from the Vietnam War!

Day 162: From Sees to Le Mans

On one particular rainy night, Adrian ingeniously rested in a handicapped toilet. Who would have thought that a toilet could become a bedroom?

Well, his sleeping bag and water supply within arm’s length were all that Adrian needed. “A handicapped toilet is the best place to camp in, it’s spacious and rarely used!” he adds. We sure are in awe of Adrian’s adaptability!

His time on the road has shown him the beauty of humanity.

When asked about his most memorable experiences on the road, Adrian told us that it was the kindness showered upon him by locals. “Although we had communication issues due to language barriers, they have always shown me kindness and cooked me the best meals. Nice drivers along the way also hand me drinks, food and sometimes, even money!”

Day 177: From Mimizan to Capbreton, Adrian with Boris’ family

Boris is one of the kind locals that Adrian met on his journey. As he was getting ready to turn in for the night in the woods of Mimizan, a city in France, he received a message from Boris, his Facebook follower. Boris, who lived around the area, knew that Adrian was nearby and wanted to find him. Adrian then pinpointed his secluded location to Boris, from which Boris picked him up and then offered him his house for the night, for free. The next day, Boris and his family even skated with him around Mimizan!

Day 66: From Saigon to Long Khan

Another moving story happened in Vietnam. The rain was getting heavy that night and Adrian had been unsuccessful in his numerous attempts to find shelter. His spirits dampened and he had almost given up all hope. It was then when a local came up to give him an envelope containing VND50,000, and another even drove him all the way to a hotel and paid for his room.

“She could have driven me to a cheap guesthouse. [Instead], she paid for an air-conditioned room which could have easily cost more than USD10. That amount meant a great deal to the Vietnamese, given that their average monthly wage is only USD200. This is why I embark on this journey – to experience the humanity in all of us”, Adrian says.

Truly, the universal language of kindness can really speak to the depths of all our hearts.

Skatepacking has helped him to appreciate the simplicity of life.

Day 171: From Landes to Montalivet

Enroute to Montalivet, Adrian’s campsite was coincidentally next to the beach facing the Atlantic Ocean. Naturally, the free-spirited man headed to the beach for some waves-crashing. After an exhilarating time, he then played petanque with the locals at his campsite – a sport which he used to represent Singapore for!

The pure joy from the simple and carefree day etched deeply in Adrian’s mind. “That day was a great day, smooth roads, meeting new people, hanging out at the beach and playing petanque once again. If only every day could be like this,” Adrian sighs.

Day 69: From Mui Ne to Vinh Tan

Skating through the desert-like roads in Mui Ne, Adrian was also fondly reminded of the beauty of Mother Nature. With white sand dunes on one side and the South China sea on the other, he tells us that it was one of the most gorgeous stretches of road he’s ever been to.

“With a view like this, I can calmly skate up the hill. It reminds me that every day is a beautiful day because I am still breathing. I might lose my money tomorrow, but as long as you have your friends and family, every day is still a wonderful day,” Adrian reflects.

His never-say-die attitude keeps him going.

adrian oh skatepacking

Day 169: Saint Maixent L’ecole to Landes

Of course, Adrian’s journey was not always smooth sailing. His biggest challenge is the road itself – it is impossible to skate on gravel or dirt road. In addition, settling his basic needs was another issue. When towns were too far from each other, he had to carry extra water supplies. Extra weight meant a tougher burden for him to bear on the road. Not to mention that there were also broken equipment and missing items which he had to deal with.

Despite all of these, Adrian never once showed any inclination to give up. Instead, what we saw was a great deal of determination and independence. “There are lots of challenges on the road, and I just have to improvise and problem-solve. This is what makes my journey interesting,” Adrian shares.

This world tour’s just the beginning.

adrian oh skatepacking

Day 162: From Sees to Le Mans (France)

Now that he’s nearly halfway through the world, we asked Adrian what his plans are after he’s completed this expedition.

“I plan to write a book on my journey, give talks, and start travelling again,” he states.

Beneath this firm reply burned a fiery passion to head out into the vast world. We realised then, that this trip was by no means an end. Instead, Adrian had merely just started out on the first chapter of his epic tale.

From Adrian to you: Just screw it and do it.

adrian oh skatepacking

Day 156: Chantilly to Paris (France)

To all our readers, Adrian has a simple and straightforward message for you: just screw it, and do it. “The longer you procrastinate, the [more likely] it will be never be done. Taking the first step is often most difficult, but once you make your first step, I assure you [that] your journey isn’t as tough as it seems.” Adrian encourages.

We cannot be more proud of our fellow Singaporean for taking this daring step towards fulfilling his dreams. In fact, we can’t wait to hear more about his trip as he goes along! Indeed, sometimes the smallest step in the right direction could end up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step nevertheless.

If you’d like to connect with Adrian, follow him and his amazing journey on World on Board! He’s also more than happy to share insights of his skatepacking experiences with you.

About Author

Sim Yi Zhen
Sim Yi Zhen

Adventurer and athlete, Yi Zhen has a penchant for planning travel itineraries that are off the beaten path. She also daydreams about travelling to Liverpool for the 2019 Netball World Cup.


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